Mark – God is On Our Side!
For our country, it is a day to celebrate our independence from another country who ruled over us. It’s also a day in the summer time of life to get out the grill, have as many family members and friends gather to eat hamburgers, brats and hot dogs. It’s a day we will watch fireworks being launched by our more generous neighbors. Sometimes, in the celebrations, we miss the point, don’t we? Many gave their lives so we can be free.
Jesus has performed many miracles in full view of his followers. Jesus has healed the lame. Jesus has shown his authority when He speaks and tells side story parables to help them understand how God’s Kingdom works. Jesus, Son of God, is showing them God and how He works before their very eyes. And yet, they are still missing the point of just WHO is living among them when the storm hits. They had enough faith to follow but then life gets choppy in the boat with the Master Teacher.
I caught something in the New Living Translation this morning as I read this very familiar passage. It was an aside…”(although other boats followed)”. Wait, what!? OTHER boats were on the sea when the storm came up. They were following Jesus to wherever he was going next! They experienced the choppy waters of the storm, too! What were they thinking when the storm came up? What did they tell their friends and family when they got home? “We were in a ton of trouble because of the storm!” “We thought we were going to lose our lives, but just as suddenly as the storm rose up, it calmed down.” “It was amazing!” “The water was like a sea of glass.” “We think it was Jesus!”
Jesus calmed the storm for his disciples. He also calmed the storm for all who followed in other boats. Camp on this for a bit in your thoughts, as I am. Jesus is not just for you or for me. Jesus gives life eternal for ALL who find and follow Him.
We live in a world that is focused greatly, sometimes solely on self. Sometimes we need to look around and see others who are trying to journey with Christ, too. We are not the only ones saved by grace. We are not the only ones who have needs. We are not the only ones who need Jesus every hour. We are not the only ones He has saved from all the storms that have blown our way. We are not the only ones who have been redeemed!
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NLT)
God sent part of Himself to earth for ALL who believe in Him! Jesus is for all. His disciples are still trying to wrap their minds around this thought in this passage. “Who is this man?”, they ask. WE know how it all ends. It ends on a cross as the beginning of new life for all of us. Our old self is laid to rest as dead and no more! Christ is risen to new life in all who believe… for eternity!
Jesus is for all. Jesus lives in all who believe. He is living in you if you believe. He is living in me. He is living in the hearts, minds and souls of many others. So when you feel alone in your belief, look around you, there are many in the same boat as you!
Call out to them. Form a community with them. Help each other stay focused on the One who saves and has set us free forever! THAT is something to celebrate!
Mark 4, NLT
Jesus Calms the Storm
35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
GOING DEEPER STILL…
How often in the trials of life we are prone to imitate the faithless disciples and cry out, “Lord, don’t You care?” Of course, He cares! He arose and rebuked the storm, and immediately there was a great calm. But Jesus did not stop with the calming of the elements, for the greatest danger was not the wind or the waves: it was the unbelief in the hearts of the disciples. Our greatest problems are within us, not around us. This explains why Jesus gently rebuked them and called
them “men of little faith.” They had heard Him teach the Word and had even seen Him perform miracles, and yet they still had no faith. It was their unbelief that caused their fear, and their fear made them question whether Jesus really cared. We must beware of “an evil heart of unbelief” (Heb. 3:12).
This was only one of many lessons Jesus would teach His disciples in the familiar environs of the Sea of Galilee, and each lesson would reveal some wonderful new truth about the Lord Jesus, Son of God. They already knew that He had the authority to forgive sins, to cast out demons, and to heal diseases. Now they discovered that He even had authority over the wind and the sea. This meant that they had no reason ever again to be afraid, for their Lord was in constant control of every situation.
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
Thank you for coming to save us all from certain death. Thank you for guiding all of us who believe toward you in all we think, do or say. Thank you for comforting us in our hurts and brokenness. Thank you for leading us to victorious outcomes in You, because of You for Your glory! Thank you for helping my brothers and sister through their storms of disappointments and troubles. Thank you for your Holy Presence for all of us who believe and follow you. Thank you for setting all of us free to follow the beat of your drum and the rhythm of your grace.
In Jesus Name, Amen